EY announces new Oceania Climate Change and Sustainability Leader
EY today announced the appointment of Dr Matthew Bell as the new EY Oceania Climate Change and Sustainability Leader.
A partner at EY Australia with more than 10 years’ experience advising on climate change and sustainability, Bell leads nearly 100 people in Australia advising clients on a wide range of sustainability strategy, climate change, reporting and assurance, carbon, social impact, health, safety and environment opportunities.
Bell says a lot has changed in the past decade in the sustainability arena – organisations that once viewed it as a “nice to have” now recognise the importance and value from embedding it into their strategy.
“There is sometimes a perception that it is just the banks and resource companies who worry about sustainability issues, but it is mainstream now; it’s across all industries. There is definitely a renewed drive from investors to understand and value non-financial risks, but increasingly customers and business partners are expecting it too,” he says.
The changes to the ASX Corporate Governance Principles introduced for FY15 reporting which specify disclosures on environmental, social and sustainability risks reflects the changing attitudes, says Bell.
“The real leaders in this space understand there is capacity to create value from this in the long-term, which is really what investors need to know.”
“Organisations need to be thinking about how their business will be disrupted or will need to change in the future. They need to consider what it will look like in 10 or more years’ time, and understand the impacts on their ability to provide returns to shareholders. This is particularly the case for carbon intensive organisations or those reliant on carbon intensive sectors, but it applies across a raft of areas including human rights in the supply chain, energy, and social license to operate more broadly.”
The changes in attitudes to sustainability strategy by organisations and subsequent appetite for advice has fuelled the steady growth of EY’s Climate Change and Sustainability practice in Australia in the past eight years, through internal growth, lateral hires, and acquisition, making it the largest sustainability service provider in Australia. Last year, EY acquired the largest stand-alone sustainability consultancy in the region – Net Balance – adding a new Partner to EY Australia (Terence Jeyaretnam) and merging more than 45 sustainability professionals into the EY team.
Bell says particular growth areas for EY’s Climate Change and Sustainability practice in FY16 will be the impacts of climate change and related legislation, an ongoing focus on health, safety and environment, human rights and social impact.
“Organisations recognise that focusing on their people, customers, and communities is fundamental to them attracting and retaining the right capital,” he says.
Bell has succeeded Mathew Nelson as Oceania Climate Change and Sustainability Leader, who is now focused on building the firm’s practice in the region as EY’s Asia Pacific Climate Change and Sustainability Leader.
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